16 – His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis

I think the best way for me to summarize this book is: George Washington’s life, pretty much, sucked.

As a young man, he was basically broke. So he marries Martha, the wealthiest widow in Virginia. And he marries her even though he’s really in love with another man’s wife. Then when he first goes to war he’s practically a laughingstock. Fast forward to him commanding the army during the War of Independence and he has success! Yay! But then takes on the mantle of the presidency. Yeah, that’s great and all, except when he wanted to leave after his first term, he got railroaded into a second term. Not to mention, during this second term, his closest “friends” were putting out propaganda behind his back saying he was old, senile, and unfit for the presidency.

When he finally does get to retire after his second term as president, he doesn’t really get to retire. People were always visiting Mount Vernon to see him and dine with him. The fact that this book even clearly states that Washington figured he and Martha didn’t dine alone for almost 20 years. Ridiculous. Then, when it was finally time for him to die, how does it happen? Oh that’s right, he gets some crazy infection in his throat and suffocates to death. Lovely life, huh?

Some cool things that I learned. Washington, D.C. is located where it is because George thought it best to have the “Federal City” just north of Virginia to help the Virginians believe it was in the south. (Or something like that) I never knew, prior to reading this, that “Commander in Chief” wasn’t always a presidential term. During the first half of this book when GW was being mentioned as the “Commander in Chief” I kept thinking, “Um…did I miss where he became president?” Only to then realize that I’m an idiot. 🙂 It was very cool to read about the creation of our government and why decisions were made. And another thing that sucked for GW, he was our nation’s guinea pig and really got crapped on in terms of people talking badly about him. But you’ve got to admit, even though he didn’t always make the best decisions, he was the one that really and truly believed we could be independent.

Lastly, I think it would be pretty awesome to be called Her “Excellency”. 🙂

6 – Presidents and Treadmills

Since getting married, I’ve gained 15-ish pounds.  Don’s done the same.  So, to work at shedding the pounds I’ve gained, I’m working on eating healthier as well as exercising.  I want to get my body in baby-ready shape.  Those of you that know me well know that I hate exercising.  Every time I get on our treadmill, I end up hurting myself.  I tend to push myself too hard to see results and, obviously, when I hurt myself, I can’t do anything.

So, this time…I’m combining healthier food choices and simply walking (a bit of a fast walk) on our treadmill.  No running allowed.  My knees and ankles hate the running.  So, 2 1/2 miles at least 3 times a week.  And while walking, I plan on reading my current presidential book.

Yesterday was my first day at this.  It turned out great!  Every time I ran on the treadmill, I would get bored after about 5 minutes.  No matter what I was doing…listening to music or watching a movie.  B.O.R.I.N.G.  So, now that I’m just walking, I can easily read!  My favorite thing to do!  I walked for 46 minutes yesterday, going 2.57 miles…and it felt like I’d been doing it for 5 minutes!  I finally found the best combination for me!  My favorite past-time combined with my least favorite.

According to the app I’m using (Noom), I’ll shed a pound a week at my current level and should be good come Christmas time.  Just in time for all of the Christmas cookies!

Hmm……maybe I should re-think this timeline.

3 – Presidential Book Challenge

After reading about some of the ladies on the NBC (Nest Book Club) challenging themselves to read a biography on each U.S. President, I thought, “What the heck?  Let’s do it.”  So, here I am kicking off what I hope will be a challenge filled with new insights and information I never even hoped to learn.

I’m definitely into history and learning more about how we, as a world, people, society, got to where we are today.  I’m excited to see what all I’ll learn.  I know this challenge will take a long time for me to complete especially because a lot of the biographies are hundreds and hundreds of pages long.  I’ve already chosen books for the first 20 presidents (George Washington through James Garfield).  We’ll see how it goes.

First Up: His Excellency: George Washington written by Joseph J. Ellis.

Coming Soon: The Bronze Horseman written by Paullina Simons will be reviewed.  I still have a little less than 300 pages to read, but I can already say that this book is excellent.